peg away (at something)

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peg away (at something)

To continue trying or working diligently (at something). I'm really not very good at math, but I've got to keep pegging away at it if I want to get into an engineering program. A: "Where's John?" B: "Oh, he's out in the garden pegging away."
See also: away, peg
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

peg away

(at something) Go to plug away (at something).
See also: away, peg
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

peg away at

Also, plug away at. Work steadily, persist, as in She pegged away at the tax return until she'd finished, or If we keep plugging away at it, the painting will soon be done. These idioms allude to the persistence required to fasten something by driving pegs or seal something by driving a plug. Peg away dates from the early 1800s plug away from the mid-1900s.
See also: away, peg
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
They on their parts waived all ceremony, and pegged away at the sausages and potatoes, and remembering Tom's performance in goal, voted East's new crony a brick.